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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Builders Warranty Insurance in the ACT

If you are undertaking residential building work which requires building approval and valued at $12,000 or more the law requires that you take out insurance under the Builders Warranty Insurance (often referred to as Home Warranty Insurance (HWI)) policy or obtain a fidelity certificate from an approved fidelity fund scheme before starting the work. This information sheet gives an overview of this requirement.

How long must the insurance policy cover the works?

If you are building on your client’s land you must have HWI cover in place from the day the certifier issues a building commencement notice and this HWI cover must last up until 5 years after a certificate of occupancy is issued for the residential building. 

If you are building on your own the land you do not need to have HWI cover before the issue of the building commencement notice. However, when you sell the property, you must insure for the period beginning on the day the land is transferred and ending 5 years after a certificate of occupancy is issued. 

What work must I insure?

You must insure “residential building work” that is, building work in relation to a residential building - a building intended mainly for private residential use, or a part of such a building, if:

  • the building has no more than 3 storeys at any point, excluding any storey used exclusively for parking or
  • for a part of a building – the part which provides structural support or forms an integral part of the building.

Insurance coverage

The HWI cover is taken out for the benefit of the owner (and all later owners of the property) and covers the owner if they are unable to recover under the contract because the builder is:

  • deceased
  • missing or
  • insolvent.

HWI covers the owner for 5 years from the day after which the certificate of occupancy was obtained and insures against a breach of a statutory warranty and loss resulting from land subsidence caused by the builder’s negligence. 

If the owner wants to make a claim they must inform the insurer within 90 days of becoming aware of the defect.

What is the maximum amount of insurance coverage?

In the ACT, insurance or a fidelity certificate provides for a maximum cover of $85,000. 

Consequences of an insurance claim being accepted

If a claim is accepted by the insurance company it will normally have the right to recover any money paid out under the HWI policy from the builder or the builder’s estate.

HWI Insurance is available through approved insurers and can be arranged through HIA Insurance Services who can be contacted on 1800 633 467

To find out more, contact HIA's Workplace Services team

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